It’s just PLANE ridiculous! This Customer Experience is for the birds!

Customer Experience for the birds! Here’s a story you don’t hear everyday demonstrating customer service at it’s worst –

A gentleman who was on a flight last month from London to Vancouver fell asleep while on the plane.  I, not being able to sleep well at all under any circumstances – especially in a plane- am envious of those who can.  Even more, this particular man fell asleep so soundly that he didn’t wake up once the plane landed, according to as reported by The Sun. But here’s the real kicker, the plane crew deplaned without noticing the passenger still asleep and the plane was wheeled into the hangar!

Can you imagine the surprise and anxiety this poor man felt once he was awakened by the mechanic who came to work on the plane?  The passenger began to hurry to get off the plane thinking the rest of the passengers had just deplaned.  Turns out it was about an hour and a half later.  The passenger went to the baggage claim and was happy that his bag was still there.

The passenger sent Air Canada, the airline involved, a letter to complain.  Here is where my irritation is.  While Air Canada did apologize, they offered him a 20% discount off his next plane ticket.

Now, I think that is just “plane” ridiculous!  Seriously, 20%?  Why even offer that?  They should have given him much more.  This plane crew clearly did not do their job and protect the safety of the passenger.  They also apparently fell quite short of their responsibilities in the functions of the checklist required by all plane crews when deplaning.

I put myself in the place of this passenger.  Let’s assume the mechanic was not the one to wake the passenger up and he awoke on his own.  Can you imagine waking up in a darkened plane by yourself?  Can you imagine waking up in a darkened plane by yourself and not being able to get out? (I’m assuming they close the plane doors when planes are in a hangar.)  How would you get out?  How would you let someone know you are on the plane?  What if he had an appointment or meeting he had needed to get to?  What if he had a medical condition that could have been adversely affected by this?  Now, I’m not an alarmist by nature.  I’m just considering all of the ramifications of this type of incident.

Again, my main consideration is to the passenger and the anxiety he must have felt for at least a short while.  So, my point is that 20% to me seems like an insult.  If I were a leader in Air Canada’s ranks, I would  provide a round trip ticket for this passenger anywhere the airline flew.  The airline did not do their job and take care of this passenger.  Yes, they got him to his destination. But they didn’t do it well.  They did only a halfway job by not ensuring he deplaned.  Passengers fall asleep all the time and flight crews know that they need to be on alert for this.

This would have been a prime opportunity for the airline to admit it made a mistake and to show that they accepted full responsibility and to do everything they could to make it better than right for this passenger.

2 Replies to “It’s just PLANE ridiculous! This Customer Experience is for the birds!”

  1. Very disappointing, but no big surprise. As an UK based, Air Canada Elite member for many years (well it’s either that or BA! and I have begged Richard Branson to fly to Canada)I have had many poor customer experiences and in most cases have written to whoever was CEO of AC that week. I generally get the same platitudes, “we’re improving our customer experience” and occasionally a small discount but nothing changes. There are some decent people at Air Canada who do care, but after Robert Milton and friends plundered the company in their latest get rich scheme, most realize they are on one way flight to final bankruptcy.

    Without employee engagement, based on a clearly defined, truly committed company wide CEM strategy, they’ll be more passengers than planes in the hangars before this saga is finally over.

  2. Whoa! As a “sleeping” passenger, I’m appalled! I fall asleep prior to take off, and awake (if I’m lucky) upon landing. Flying is disorienting enough. I have no concept of the experience this passenger endured. I whole-heartedly agree…20% is a slap in the face. It’s the equivalent of getting a coupon to a steak house despite the fact that you’re a vegetarian. Really? That’s the best they could do??? I respectfully disagree that a round trip ticket on their airline would be a reward. In my opinion, he should have been offered a round trip ticket on the airline of his choice. If they believed they were doing the right thing, they would believe he would pick them as his airline of choice.
    Wow…I’m seriously considering staying awake on my next flight. Well, probably not…zzzzzzzzzz…

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